Fusarium graminearum-induced shoot elongation and root reduction in maize seedlings correlate with later seedling blight severity.
ABSTRACT: Fusarium graminearum seedling blight is a common disease of maize (Zea mays). Development of genetic resistance to seedling blight in maize germplasm requires efficient and accurate quantitative assessment of disease severity. Through artificial inoculation experiments under controlled growth conditions, we determined that host genotype, pathogen genotype, and infection dose influence the extent to which F. graminearum induces shoot elongation and inhibits root growth in maize seedlings. A comparison of 15 maize inbred lines showed independent variation of these two fungus-induced effects on seedling growth. In a broader survey with nine commercial maize hybrids and three field-collected fungal isolates, there was significant correlation between these seedling growth responses, as well as with later seedling blight severity. Analysis of variance suggested that this variation and the observed correlative relationships were primarily driven by differing pathogenicity of the three fungal isolates. Together, our results indicate that F. graminearum-induced shoot elongation and root reduction in maize seedlings have distinct underlying physiological mechanisms, and that early observations of seedling growth responses can serve as a proxy for investigating natural variation in host resistance and pathogen aggressiveness at later growth stages.
Project description:To evaluate crop rotation effects on maize seedling performance and its associated microbiome, maize plants were grown in the greenhouse in soils preceded by either maize, pea, soybean or sunflower. Soils originated from a replicated field experiment evaluating different four-year rotation combinations. In the greenhouse, a stressor was introduced by soil infestation with western corn rootworm (WCR) or Fusarium graminearum. Under non-infested conditions, maize seedlings grown in soils preceded by sunflower or pea had greater vigor. Stress with WCR or F. graminearum resulted in significant root damage. WCR root damage was equivalent for seedlings regardless of soil provenance; whereas F. graminearum root damage was significantly lower in maize grown in soils preceded by sunflower. Infestation with WCR affected specific microbial taxa (Acinetobacter, Smaragdicoccus, Aeromicrobium, Actinomucor). Similarly, F. graminearum affected fungal endophytes including Trichoderma and Endogone. In contrast to the biological stressors, rotation sequence had a greater effect on rhizosphere microbiome composition, with larger effects observed for fungi compared to bacteria. In particular, relative abundance of Glomeromycota was significantly higher in soils preceded by sunflower or maize. Defining the microbial players involved in crop rotational effects in maize will promote selection and adoption of favorable crop rotation sequences.
Project description:Background:Solidago canadensis L. is an aggressive exotic plant species in China that has potential allelopathic effects on competing plant species. Effects of hormesis are frequently observed in studies of allelopathy; however, the mechanisms of such effects need to be elucidated. Allelopathic compounds may affect the growth of recipient plants via alteration of biomass allocation patterns or photosynthetic capacity. The aim of this study was to determine how water extracts from S. canadensis affected the shoot and root growth of recipient plants and whether the underlying mechanism was related to the biomass allocation pattern or photosynthetic gas exchange capacity. Methods:The water extracts from S. canadensis shoots at 12 different concentrations in the range of 0-0.25 g/ml were applied thrice in 9 days to maize seedlings cultivated in silica sand. The growth (shoot height, leaf length and area and root length) and biomass accumulation and allocation (specific leaf area (SLA), leaf area ratio (LAR) and leaf mass ratio (LMR)) were compared among maize seedlings exposed to different treatment concentrations. Gas exchange (photosynthetic light response curve) was measured and compared among maize seedlings exposed to three concentrations of water extract (0, 0.0125 and 0.2 g/ml) before and after the first application, and seedling growth was measured after the third and final application. Results:The growth of seedlings (shoot height, leaf length and area and root length) was promoted at concentrations below 0.125 g/ml and inhibited at concentrations above this level (P < 0.05). The pattern of change in biomass accumulation and allocation was similar to that of shoot growth, but biomass accumulation and allocation was not significantly affected by the water extract treatments (P > 0.05). The water extract treatments did not significantly affect the photosynthetic capacity (P > 0.05), but the dark respiration rate was higher in the low-dose treatment than that in the high-dose treatment. Shoot height was positively correlated with the biomass allocation indicators SLA and LAR (P < 0.05) but not with LMR (P > 0.05). Conclusions:The results suggested that the effects of the water extracts from S. canadensis were highly dependent on the concentration, with the growth of maize seedlings promoted at low concentrations of water extracts. The effects of the water extracts on the growth of maize seedlings were mainly due to the effects on the LAR, the allocation to leaf area growth, whereas the effects of the water extracts on leaf gas exchange capacity cannot explain variation of seedling growth. Thus, the stimulation of plant growth was very likely due to increased biomass allocation towards the shoot.
Project description:Fusarium graminearum can cause Giberella Ear Rot (GER) and seedling blight in maize, resulting in major yield losses. Besides GER, the infected grains are consequently contaminated with multiple mycotoxins of F. graminearum. Zearalenone and trichothecenes, such as deoxynivalenol and its acetylated forms, are among the major mycotoxins associated with F. graminearum infection in maize. In the current work, we explored the effect of the endophytic fungal genera of Epicoccum and Sordaria, to control F. graminearum infection in comparative trials with Piriformospora spp., an elusive endophytic genus. Furthermore, we investigated the effect of these endophytes on zearalenone, deoxynivalenol, and 15-acetyldeoxynivalenol levels using in vitro and in planta assays. As plants are endowed with several detoxification mechanisms comprising e.g., glucosylation of trichothecenes, the effect of the isolated fungal endophytes on the deoxynivalenol-3-glucoside level was also assessed. In general, results showed a considerable variability in the antifungal activity, both among species and among isolates within one species. Additionally, the effect on mycotoxin levels was variable, and not necessarily related to the antifungal activity except for zearalenone levels which were consistently reduced by the endophytes. These results highlight the great potential of certain endophytic fungal strains as new biocontrol agents in agricultural science.
Project description:Hydrochar is a carbon-based material that can be used as soil amendment. Since the physical-chemical properties of hydrochar are mainly assigned to process parameters, we aimed at evaluating the organic fraction of different hydrochars through <sup>13</sup>C-NMR and off-line TMAH-GC/MS. Four hydrochars produced with sugarcane bagasse, vinasse and sulfuric or phosphoric acids were analyzed to elucidate the main molecular features. Germination and initial growth of maize seedlings were assessed using hydrochar water-soluble fraction to evaluate their potential use as growth promoters. The hydrochars prepared with phosphoric acid showed larger amounts of bioavailable lignin-derived structures. Although no differences were shown about the percentage of maize seeds germination, the hydrochar produced with phosphoric acid promoted a better seedling growth. For this sample, the greatest relative percentage of benzene derivatives and phenolic compounds were associated to hormone-like effects, responsible for stimulating shoot and root elongation. The reactions parameters proved to be determinant for the organic composition of hydrochar, exerting a strict influence on molecular features and plant growth response.
Project description:The role of common mycorrhizal networks (CMNs) in postfire boreal forest successional trajectories is unknown. We investigated this issue by sampling a 50-m by 40-m area of naturally regenerating black spruce (Picea mariana), trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides), and paper birch (Betula papyrifera) seedlings at various distances from alder (Alnus viridis subsp. crispa), a nitrogen-fixing shrub, 5 years after wildfire in an Alaskan interior boreal forest. Shoot biomasses and stem diameters of 4-year-old seedlings were recorded, and the fungal community associated with ectomycorrhizal (ECM) root tips from each seedling was profiled using molecular techniques. We found distinct assemblages of fungi associated with alder compared with those associated with the other tree species, making the formation of CMNs between them unlikely. However, among the spruce, aspen, and birch seedlings, there were many shared fungi (including members of the Pezoloma ericae [Hymenoscyphus ericae] species aggregate, Thelephora terrestris, and Russula spp.), raising the possibility that these regenerating seedlings may form interspecies CMNs. Distance between samples did not influence how similar ECM root tip-associated fungal communities were, and of the fungal groups identified, only one of them was more likely to be shared between seedlings that were closer together, suggesting that the majority of fungi surveyed did not have a clumped distribution across the small scale of this study. The presence of some fungal ribotypes was associated with larger or smaller seedlings, suggesting that these fungi may play a role in the promotion or inhibition of seedling growth. The fungal ribotypes associated with larger seedlings were different between spruce, aspen, and birch, suggesting differential impacts of some host-fungus combinations. One may speculate that wildfire-induced shifts in a given soil fungal community could result in variation in the growth response of different plant species after fire and a shift in regenerating vegetation.
Project description:Microbes form close associations with host plants including rice as both surface (epiphytes) and internal (endophytes) inhabitants. Yet despite rice being one of the most important cereal crops agriculturally and economically, knowledge of its microbiome, particularly core inhabitants and any functional properties bestowed is limited. In this study, the microbiome in rice seedlings derived directly from seeds was identified, characterized and compared to the microbiome of the seed. Rice seeds were sourced from two different locations in Arkansas, USA of two different rice genotypes (Katy, M202) from two different harvest years (2013, 2014). Seeds were planted in sterile media and bacterial as well as fungal communities were identified through 16S and ITS sequencing, respectively, for four seedling compartments (root surface, root endosphere, shoot surface, shoot endosphere). Overall, 966 bacterial and 280 fungal ASVs were found in seedlings. Greater abundance and diversity were detected for the microbiome associated with roots compared to shoots and with more epiphytes than endophytes. The seedling compartments were the driving factor for microbial community composition rather than other factors such as rice genotype, location and harvest year. Comparison with datasets from seeds revealed that 91 (out of 296) bacterial and 11 (out of 341) fungal ASVs were shared with seedlings with the majority being retained within root tissues. Core bacterial and fungal microbiome shared across seedling samples were identified. Core bacteria genera identified in this study such as Rhizobium, Pantoea, Sphingomonas, and Paenibacillus have been reported as plant growth promoting bacteria while core fungi such as Pleosporales, Alternaria and Occultifur have potential as biocontrol agents.
Project description:Fusarium graminearum is a common pathogen of wheat and maize throughout the world. Despite recent advances in the elucidation of the genetic basis of virulence, significant gaps in the regulatory network underlying pathogenesis remain to be filled. In particular, little is known at the molecular level about the overlap among mechanisms of pathogenicity on maize and wheat. G-protein signalling has been implicated in pathogenesis in F. graminearum, although the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. In this study, we investigated the involvement of a putative phosducin-like gene (BDM1) in growth, development and pathogenesis in F. graminearum. Targeted deletion of BDM1 revealed roles in sexual and asexual sporulation, germ tube development, hyphal branching and mycelial morphology. During pathogenesis, BDM1 is required for wild-type levels of colonization of maize silk tissue and stalks, but is dispensable for the colonization of kernels. The deletion of BDM1 also reduced the virulence of F. graminearum during the infection of wheat seedlings and heads, resulting in a significant reduction in fungal biomass and a delayed spread of visual symptom expression (i.e. bleaching in heads). Furthermore, BDM1 is required for wild-type levels of deoxynivalenol biosynthesis during the infection of wheat heads and maize silks. In summation, BDM1 is one of the few genes characterized to date in F. graminearum involved in virulence during infection of both maize and wheat. Thus, the functional characterization of BDM1 has established a new regulatory link between pathogenesis in maize and wheat, and provides a genetic resource through which the regulatory networks underlying virulence in F. graminearum can be further elucidated.
Project description:1. The composition of the sterol ester fraction of the shoot, root, scutellum and endosperm of 10-day-old maize seedlings was investigated. 2. The scutellum and endosperm together contain 80% of the sterol ester of the seedling. 3. beta-Sitosteryl linoleate is the major sterol ester of the scutellum and endosperm. 4. beta-Sitosteryl and stigmasteryl palmitate, palmitoleate, oleate and linoleate are the major sterol esters of the root. 5. In the shoot phytosterol linoleate is less abundant than phytosterol myristate, palmitate, palmitoleate and oleate. 6. There is a greater proportion of cholesteryl ester in the shoot than in the other tissues of the seedling.
Project description:Vitreoscilla hemoglobin (VHb) is a type of hemoglobin found in the Gram-negative aerobic bacterium Vitreoscilla that has been shown to contribute to the tolerance of anaerobic stress in multiple plant species. Maize (Zea mays L.) is susceptible to waterlogging, causing significant yield loss. In this study, we approached this problem with the introduction of an exogenous VHb gene.We overexpressed the VHb gene in Arabidopsis and maize under the control of the CaMV35S promoter. After 14 days of waterlogging treatment, the transgenic VHb Arabidopsis plants remained green, while the controls died. Under waterlogging, important plant growth traits of VHb plants, including seedling height, primary root length, lateral root number, and shoot dry weight were significantly improved relative to those of the controls. The VHb gene was also introduced into a maize line through particle bombardment and was then transferred to two elite maize inbred lines through marker-assisted backcrossing. The introduction of VHb significantly enhanced plant growth under waterlogging stress on traits, including seedling height, primary root length, lateral root number, root dry weight, and shoot dry weight, in both Zheng58 and CML50 maize backgrounds. Under the waterlogging condition, transgenic VHb maize seedlings exhibited elevated expression of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH1) and higher peroxidase (POD) enzyme activity. The two VHb-containing lines, Zheng58 (VHb) and CML50 (VHb), exhibited higher tolerance to waterlogging than their negative control lines (Zheng58 and CML50).These results demonstrate that the exogenous VHb gene confers waterlogging tolerance to the transgenic maize line. In Maize in the place of to the transgenic maize line, the VHb gene is a useful molecular tool for the improvement of waterlogging and submergence-tolerance.
Project description:Maize is known to be susceptible to drought stress, which negatively affects vegetative growth and biomass production, as well as the formation of reproductive organs and yield parameters. In this study, 27 responsive traits of germination (G) and seedlings growth were evaluated for 40 accessions of the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) germplasm collection, under no stress and simulated drought stress treatments by 10%, 15%, and 20% of polyethylene glycol (PEG). The three treatments significantly reduced G% and retarded seedlings growth, particularly the 15% and 20% PEG treatments; these two treatments also resulted in a significant increase of abnormal seedlings (AS). The heritability (H2) and correlations of the traits were estimated, and drought tolerance indices (DTIs) were calculated for traits and accessions. The H2 of G% values were reduced, and H2 for AS% increased as the PEG stress increased. Positive correlations were found between most trait pairs, particularly shoot and root traits, with 48 highly significant correlations under no stress and 25 highly significant correlations under the 10% PEG treatments, particularly for shoot and root traits. The medium to high heritability of shoot and root seedling traits provides a sound basis for further genetic analyses. PCA analysis clearly grouped accessions with high DTIs together and the accessions with low DTIs together, indicating that the DTI indicates the stress tolerance level of maize germplasm. However, the resemblance in DTI values does not clearly reflect the origin or taxonomic assignments to subspecies and varieties of the examined accessions.